The contemporary Dad
The role of the father has changed quite a bit in recent times. Before, the father was the dominant figure in the household, the primary breadwinner, the bearer of all burdens. Fathers were meant to be strict, imposing and unmoving walls of wisdom who made our decisions for us and had the final say. Although some might still argue that most fathers still possess all the mentioned qualities, it is true that society's expectations from a father have changed. Since mothers are also tackling careers now, the running of a household is on a more equal footing. Fathers are expected to be more involved in the daily activities of their children and their overall emotional well-being. While the traditional father was a straightforward, no-nonsense role, being a modern father is much more complicated.
This week, with Father's Day round the corner on June 16, Star Lifestyle trains the spotlight on fathers, the central roles they play in our lives and also a few ideas on how we can give back.
OTED director Gazi Shubhro is a 21st century father with an eight-year-old son and four-year-old daughter, and he is always on the run because of his busy schedule while also trying to be there to watch his children grow up. Shubhro is the brains behind a lot of advertisements and music videos we see on TV; one of his most popular videos was the “Beautiful Bangladesh” campaign he created in collaboration with the Bangladesh Cricket Board during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
"I spent a lot of time dabbling into a lot of different things in order to figure out what I wanted to do in life,” recalls Shubhro, when asked how he came to be a director. “I was the drummer of a band called Bamba, I owned a restaurant and I also had a sweater exporting business. Our band had decided to make a music video, and I played a crucial role in the shaping of ideas. It was something I really enjoyed and was interested in. I was also friends with the then-CEO of British American Tobacco as we shared similar interests in music. He was the one who said to me, 'If you enjoy it so much, why don't you seriously pursue it?' He himself quit his job and went back to the UK to fulfil his dreams of being a musician.”
“I started by directing a music video for the band Miles with a cameraman. After that, I never looked back. I work regularly with Unilever and I have created music videos for Close Up 1.” Shubhro has about 400 TV commercials and 100 music videos under his belt.
Needless to say, the road to success was paved with a lot of detours in this case. Shubhro insists that his family's support was extremely important throughout, especially his father, with whom he shares a very close relationship. “My father is the reason for the person that I am today. He never imposed anything on me, which actually led me to think about my responsibilities to my family from an early age,” says Shubhro. “My father is a publisher and he was also the editor of a magazine, which meant that growing up, I was always surrounded by a lot of creative people.”
Father's Day was not as prevalent as it is today when Shubhro was growing up, but now that it is, he is all for it. According to him, even though it's important that we show our loved ones we care everyday, having a special day with a few surprises is always nice. “My kids make cards and crafts in school for such occasions and it feels great to be on the receiving end,” says Shubhro. “I have also started giving my father some Father's Day presents. Once we were in Bangkok and I bought him some new clothes. My father and I spent a lot of father-son time over the past few years as I had to accompany my father to Bangkok during his regular hospital visits, and I still reminisce about those times as it felt like we were getting to know each other again after so many years.”
When asked what being a good father means to him, Shubhro agrees that there is a lot to learn due to the changes across generations.
“I try to make a small effort everyday with my kids,” he says. “In today's hectic lifestyle, it's really important for me to grab every opportunity I can to spend time with my kids, be it dropping them off to school when I am free in the mornings or taking them out to a spontaneous lunch at KFC. This works better than over-planning, which might lead to postponing.”
As Shubhro's kids are still young, he and his wife can still dictate the day to day lives of their children. In a few years, however, both the children and their parenting techniques will need to change as the kids move on to their teens and ultimately adulthood. When asked how he plans to steer that particular inevitable course, Shubhro replies, “Ultimately, as parents, the only thing my wife and I can do is try to guide and educate our kids as much as we can. The big decisions in their lives have to be made by them. We just have to hope that we have instilled the correct beliefs in our children so that they grow up to be good human beings!”
Photos: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Models: Gazi Shubhro, Gazi Ashaz and Gazi Arnaz
Location: Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel Dhaka